Boniface Omondi’s 26th minute goal handed Gor Mahia a 1-0 victory over arch rivals AFC Leopards at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday as K’Ogalo continued their dominance over Ingwe in the Mashemeji Derby.
AFC’s wait for a victory over Gor stretches on for a ninth game as their last victory in the derby was in March 26. Gor have won eight of their last nine fixtures, asserting complete dominance over their old age rivals.
“I am proud of the players for the result especially with how they handled the pressure in the second half. It was a very tough game and AFC have really improved which made it difficult for us. But always, I am happy with a victory especially in the derby. We now have to continue working hard with our focus on winning the league,” Gor Mahia boss Steve Polack said after the match.
His opposite number Anthony Kimani who was taking charge of the derby for the first time ever as coach rued missed chances, but says there is a reason for the players to carry belief heading into the final two months of the season.
“We had chances which we failed to use and Gor used their best chance of the game. It is sad to lose the derby but we can’t put our heads down and I think we should be proud of how we fought and performed today,” Kimani noted.
The derby was attended by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who witnessed the football rivalry live in the stadium for the first time ever.
A plucky see-saw affair was finally tilted to Gor’s favour in the 26th minute when Omondi tapped the ball home from close range after AFC keeper Benjamin Ochan spilled a header from Nicholas Kipkurui off a corner.
Both sides had threatened before the goal with Clifton Miheso striking over from the left while on the other hand, Elvis Rupia’s deflected shot was turned behind for a corner by Gor keeper Boniface Oluoch.
In the second half, AFC came back spirited to get themselves back into the game and Kimani made changes, bringing in the speedy Boniface Mukhekhe for youngster Jafary Owiti who had been kept quiet throughout the opening 45.
Leopards came close again when Rupia was sent through on goal, but an onrushing Oluoch came off his line to spread his body on the ground and block the AFC striker’s effort at goal.
On the other end, a defensive mistake from AFC with a half hearted clearance saw the ball land on Miheso, but the winger’s first time effort was strongly palmed away for a corner by Benjamin Ochan in the AFC goal.
Ingwe should have drawn level in the 65th minute when Mukhekhe’s cut back from the right found Rupia, but the striker’s effort with a first time volley went inches wide.
AFC pressed forward to try and get back into the game, but couldn’t muster a way past Oluoch and the defense marshalled by Kenyan international Joash Onyango.
Late on, AFC were almost caught out after keeper Ochan spilled the ball off a Lawrence Juma shot, but Juma Balinya’s effort on the rebound was cleared off the line.
Source: Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF)